VERSAILLES — The second annual Whistling Goat Music and Arts Festival has changed locations for this year’s event. The festival, which raises scholarship money for area graduating seniors, will be held Saturday, Oct. 8, at the BMI Speedway arena in Versailles.
According to founder Patti Laughlin Fogt, last year’s outdoor event, was very windy and chilly and too spread out at the Shelby County Fairgrounds, so when BMI offered the arena for this year’s event, she jumped at the chance to ward against unpredictable weather.
“Last year was a little crazier, because it was our first one. This year, it’s not as crazy … And it’s all in one place, which makes it nice. (Last year) it was at the Shelby County Fairgrounds, where it was kind of scattered through the whole place, This BMI Karts Arena, it’s all in one big arena,” said Laughlin Fogt about the location change.
The Whistling Goat Music and Arts Festival was conceived through the initial act of donating money for a scholarship in her late mother’s name to a Springboro student. Her mother Barb Engle worked as a janitor there for 18 years and often mentored troubled students.
“My mother was so well loved. She would trade books with the English teachers, and loved English and loved reading. And we thought we would give a scholarship in her name to a student in the Springboro school. And we thought, ‘Wow, that was pretty cool. Why don’t we try to do that again in the area where we went to school.’ So then we decided to come up here,” Laughlin Fogt said about the scholarships for Shelby County students.
Although Shelby County educators were primarily made aware of the Barb Engle Scholarship, any senior from any county may be nominated. Nominees need not be straight A students, either. Laughlin Fogt said the scholarship is based upon “heart.”
“We do stipulated that it has to be an educator that nominates them … they don’t have to be the smartest … it doesn’t have to be a straight A student; they could have all Cs. — Because none of us is perfect,” said Laughlin Fogt of the process in which the student and educator must submit something in writing.
This year’s event will yield two scholarships for an English and a math/science nominee. However, there is still a $260 nursing scholarship available from money raised at last year’s Asphalt Matriarch’s poker-run held at the beginning of festival. No one applied for it and the scholarship is still up for grabs.
Last year, one $550 scholarship was awarded to Fort Loramie senior Hillary Benanzer.
Again this year, the festival will feature two stages. One stage will hold local bands and the other is an open mic for a scheduled comedian, karaoke, school orchestra, whistling contest, a “goat’ee” contest and other acoustic performances from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Bands and soloists include bagpiper Kate Pressel, Heavy Metal Church of Christ’s Humble Sons, Gospel ladies’ Spiritualetts, Dominique, Inside Out, Throne of Grace, Controversy for Breakfast, Amanda Livingston & City of Glass, Roadhouse Mafia, Flawed Perfection, Paraclete, Rebel City Wreckers and 91 Charlie.
There will be interactive arts and crafts for children and adults. They will range from decorating donated hard boiled eggs to making Christmas ornaments, which will be sent to active military members. Among other activities, children can also enjoy a petting zoo and face painters.
There will be original art work, a custom bike show, beer and various “fair-type” of food available, as well.
Laughlin Fogt said she didn’t expect the fundraiser to grow to this size, as she initially thought it would be a small party in her back yard, but one band knew another and another and it became a festival. She said all bands are donating their time to the cause and would not accept payment.
“I feel we are that we are put here to do these things; somebody needed to jump out there and help these kids,” Laughlin Fogt said of her desire to help.
Admission is $10 at the door, but children under 12 and veterans can get in for free. Veterans can obtain free tickets by visiting www.vettixs.org. For more information on the festival or to obtain a scholarship application, visit www.whistlinggoatfestival.com.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.